Drvengrad / Wooden City, Serbia

Located in western Serbia, you will find the dreamiest and picture perfect city of Drvengrad / Wooden City, Serbia. Built by the film director Emir Kusturica for his award-winning movie Život je čudo (Life is a Miracle), the village was built in a traditional style, surrounded by nature. Known as Drvengrad (which translates to “Wooden Town”), or Küstendorf, the village was built at the meeting point of the Zlatibor and Tara mountains. This beautiful mountainous area is filled with green forests, sunny hills, numerous trekking paths, offering quietness and fresh air. This village may be a small, but it has so much to offer – culture, science, cinema, arts, crafts and history.

Drvengrad / Wooden City

Drvengrad – Serbia’s famous wooden village that has been on my bucket list for many years

You would never believe such green and lush scenery exists in Serbia, but it does! This beautiful oasis is found 200 km outside of Belgrade, roughly a 4 hour drive. Drvengrad can also be reached from Zlatibor or Višegrad (Bosnia and Herzegovina). If you are staying in Bajina Basta, it is roughly a 40 min drive. Once you arrive, you will feel like you are in the most picturesque village hidden away from the world.

The town’s main landmark is the Church of Saint Sava, which is built in the manner of Russian wooden churches. Scattered around the main square of the village are authentic log cabins and timber houses.

The village streets are named after famous people from culture and science. The main street is named after the Nobel prize winner Ivo Andrić, and other streets and squares are named after Argentine Marxist and Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the Argentinian football player Diego Maradona, the film directors Federico Fellini and Ingmar Bergman, the Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic, and the scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla. 

This village has everything a real town would have – a main square, a church, a cinema, a pool with a spa centre, a gym, two restaurants and even a jail. The village also hosts the international Küstendorf Film Festival, which was established by Emir Kusturica.

There is also accommodation in Drvengrad. You can book a stay in this unique ethno village, where you can enjoy the tennis court, swimming pool, cinema, a gym, as well as a walking track.

Things to do

Walking through the main street of the town, we saw beautiful wooden houses, neatly arranged with alleys between them and plenty of grass and flowers between them. There are no identical houses, each one is unique, fitting perfectly in the space. Walk around and you will cover the entire village in roughly 20 minutes. Maybe a little longer if you enjoy stopping and taking in the views. I would highly recommend dinning at the restaurant, even if it is to sit in for some drinks and admire the views. If you are visiting with family, you can explore the playground or spend time in the Ivo Andric library. There is also a little gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs to take home.

The collection of wooden houses is truly spectacular! It is so beautiful and the little church of St Sava is personally my favorite part of this little town! You will be delighted to know that Drvengrad isn’t the only village that was created for an Emir Kusturica movie. There is a town made from stone called Andrićgrad in Visegrad. This is a lovely riverside town in the nearby Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Crossing the border to Bosnia

On the same day we crossed over to visit Bosnia. Crossing the border is quiet normal, and not a war zone like people would imagine it to be. Bosnia is really beautiful, there is so much untouched land. The scenery going into Bosnia is wonderful. Especially when you drive alongside the famous River Drina. The farmers who live here have simple houses and do not industrialize the land.

In Bosnia, we ate at the cutest cafe. The people were very polite, welcoming and had a menu filled with traditional food. I did notice a sense of community in these slightly more rural cafes. The minute we walked in you could tell the people were locals and everybody knew each others names. The food was like having a home made meal which I LOVE. I found it interesting that in the middle of nowhere – this cafe had a station for charging your phone, even though no other piece of modern technology was found inside.

Serbia really is filled with so much beautiful land, scenery, nature, history and life that exists outside of the capital. If you ever reach this side of the world be sure to visit Drvengrad as it is truly stunning. I hope this gives you some inspiration to visit the beautiful and enchanting village of Drvengrad.

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